Spontaneity and Gratitude as Creative Playgrounds
Image by Mohamed Chermiti 

Great ideas can strike when you are fully involved in another task. The nonlinear creative mind steps forward when your linear mind is either so engaged it doesn’t have any circuits left to suppress the nonlinear mind or too bored by whatever you’re doing that it powers down a bit. Either situation can be fertile ground for sprouting ideas.

When an idea strikes, stop what you are doing as soon as you are able and write down whatever arose from your creative mind. Even rough scraps of ideas must not be lost by being too busy. Think of your ideas like produce: they are best when you get them fresh.

Keep working with your sketch/notebook to capture ideas, concepts, and thoughts as they arise. Discipline yourself to carry it everywhere and use it often.

Along with doing exercises such as writing morning pages and allowing the nonlinear mind to speak on either side of sleep, I find setting an intentional opening for my day to be equally important. While I liken it to having a daily road map, it isn’t about choosing a fixed emotional, mental, or physical destination but instead using the time to choose a “road” that you want to travel.

Going Off-The-Map

This is a variation on the mystery road trips I’d take with my paternal grandfather. He was great for taking a road he’d never driven on before just to see where it went. To this day, I like to follow this idea when making long drives. Without consulting any guidance from phone apps or GPS, I take an exit and go wandering. Using this method, I have stumbled on great restaurants with home-cooked food and curious roadside attractions and have had many memorable adventures.

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Choosing a metaphoric path to travel each day can set a tone that is conducive to experiencing life in a vital, enhancing way. Now you could use this exercise for a specific project, but it is a lot more fun to use it to break out of your comfort zone and go off the map.

Here are suggested off-the-map journeys.

  • Choose to be open to signs from the universe for a day.

  • Ask a stranger to tell you something that he or she always wanted to share.

  • Use your camera to photograph only things or people with names that begin with a specific letter.

  • Blow bubbles with the neighborhood kids.

  • Spend the entire day without using any of your gadgets.

  • Write “You are a miracle!” on fifty sticky notes and then surreptitiously post them all around your town without getting caught.

  • Pack a picnic to have with a friend in the moonlight and choose foods that fit the occasion (moonpies, anyone?).

  • Set up a mystery date with a friend that involves dressing in disguise.

  • Decide to engage in something that gets you out of your comfort zone.

Use your evening subconscious programming to request what physically safe but comfort-zone-busting activity you can do the next day. Once you have heard from your subconscious in the morning, write it down before your party-pooper linear mind chimes in.

After you’ve captured the idea on paper, follow through with what you received. Don’t let yourself weasel out of rattling your own cage. As the ad says, just do it!

The Grateful Fest

As a part of setting my path every morning, I engage in a gratitude fest. I do this after I’ve sat with my post-sleep liminal state and written down in my sketch/notebook whatever fresh goodies my subconscious and nonlinear thoughts have delivered to me. I may even wait to do the fest until after I’m dressed and downstairs—as then I can step outside to do this ceremony. But I always refrain from thinking about the day’s to-do list until after I’ve finished with my gratitude ceremony.

For my gratitude fest, I find it really important to speak aloud. That way, my subconscious as well as my conscious mind can hear me. I start with something like, “I feel grateful for this new day.” Then I often follow with gratitude for my senses. Next might be gratitude for my health and that of my partner. As I go along, I offer gratitude for our cat, my ancestors (I name their names and specific traits I inherited from them), my family and friends (again using their names), and our clients and my students.

How the gratitude flows is never exactly the same, as I allow it to be both heartfelt and spontaneous. However, I do make the ending exactly the same each day. When I’ve exhausted my gratitude, I always end with the phrase: “And thank you for the miracles I experience today!”

Just saying that phrase programs me to recognize and consciously honor every gift I receive each day. The gift might be a new bird at the feeder, a call from a friend I haven’t heard from in a while, or an unexpected check arriving in the mail—but calling these gifts miracles unlocks a door in me that then provides the universe a way in to deliver new delights.

Morning Gratitude Bath Ceremony

For this you’ll need:

  • Your sketch/notebook and a pen

  • A small bit of birdseed or cornmeal (if you are doing this outdoors)

Read through the instructions before performing the ceremony.

  1. Close your eyes, and breathe a few times with a focus on your heart.

  2. Remember a time in the past when you felt grateful.

  3. Allow yourself to fill with feelings of gratitude again for that experience.

  4. When you are truly feeling gratitude, offer thanks aloud for this day and its many possibilities.

  5. Express out loud your gratitude for being alive.

  6. Continue expressing your gratitude aloud for all that you are truly grateful for.

  7. When you feel you’ve exhausted your reasons for being grateful, say: “And thank you for the miracles I experience today!”

  8. If you are outdoors, leave a bit of birdseed or cornmeal as a concrete offering to seal the ceremony and as a gift to the beings of nature around your home.

  9. Take a few moments to write whatever came up during this process in your sketch/notebook.

  10. Now go about your day!

Process Questions

1. What did it feel like to take a gratitude bath?

2. What occurred during the days that you started with gratitude?

Pay attention to any patterns you begin to notice as you continue this process.

Practicing this can really change how you experience life and contribute to the generous flowing of your creativity. A grateful heart opens up your full capacities, and when you are running on full power, your creative energy can flow like a river after the snow melts.

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Printed with permission of the publisher,
Destiny Books, an imprint of Inner Traditions Intl.

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Shamanic Creativity

Shamanic Creativity: Free the Imagination with Rituals, Energy Work, and Spirit Journeying
by Evelyn C. Rysdyk

book cover of Shamanic Creativity: Free the Imagination with Rituals, Energy Work, and Spirit Journeying by Evelyn C. RysdykIn this step-by-step practical guide to enhancing creative energy, Evelyn Rysdyk explains how, from the shamanic perspective, creativity--or creative energy--is a life-giving force that frees the imagination, supports innovation, and awakens unique ways of thinking and feeling that can transform your life. She explores how to release creativity-blocking patterns, reprogram the subconscious, engage the “right brain,” boost imagination, overcome anxiety and destructive emotions, and become much more creative in daily life.

Examining creative energy as a natural phenomenon similar to the tides, the author provides suggestions for when your creative energy is at a low tide as well as offering shamanic techniques for dealing with insecurities related to your creative pursuits and overcoming dysfunctional subconscious perceptions.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Evelyn C. RysdykEvelyn C. Rysdyk is an internationally recognized shamanic practitioner and author of several books, including The Norse ShamanSpirit Walking, and The Nepalese Shamanic Path.

Along with her writings, she is an impassioned teacher and a featured presenter for Sounds True, The Shift Network, and other international and online programs. She finds creative inspiration and renewal on the coast of Maine.

Visit her website at EvelynRysdyk.com

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